How to stay healthy this holiday season with the rise in respiratory illnesses

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Wichita, Kan. (CAKE) – Ascension Via Christi officials say health workers are extremely busy caring for people with respiratory illnesses such as the flu, RSV and Covid, and numbers are expected to increase after the holidays.

Coughs can be heard in the emergency room at Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa in northwest Wichita as doctors rush from room to room.

“I'd say I've seen more people in the last three days than I've seen in the last week,” says Dr. Greg Zandro.

Respiratory viruses spread when people are in close contact with each other, which is why the holidays are a big time for people to get sick. The hospital says the number of people with flu, RSV and Covid increases after the holidays because it's when a lot of people congregate.

“The holidays are always a tricky time. Everyone gets together and shares a lot with it. Your gifts, your physical presence and your germs,” ‚Äč‚Äčexplains Dr. Jandro.

The best thing you can do to keep yourself and your family safe this season, she says, is to take action before you get sick.

“There is an expression that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention is key. Trying to be as healthy as possible is always the goal,” he said.

This includes washing hands, practicing social distancing and making sure you are up-to-date on vaccinations. Even if it's not what you want, it's best to stay home if you're sick.

“It's always difficult to take yourself out of the mix. Usually if you're sick and you get sick from one person, you can pass that disease on to someone else,” he said.

Balance is also important when celebrating. Make sure you get plenty of rest, drink water, and eat some fruits, vegetables, and protein in addition to the delicious Christmas treats.

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